Seeking out individual donations for your event, charity or fundraising effort is the hallmark of any successful campaign, but getting businesses in your community to support you is just as crucial for an event that people will remember.
Why? Typically, businesses have more capital than individuals and are looking to do some campaigning of their own, whether it be marketing or PR. Finding businesses that are sympathetic to your cause or event can be daunting, but with a little guidance, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, it can be a very rewarding experience for both you and the business.
So here are 10 tips to getting businesses on your side for your next event.
1. The Internet Is Your Friend
It may seem like a no-brainer, but to have a website is critical in this age of giving. If you approach a company and don’t have a website, they are most often going to be skeptical of giving to you. That’s why having a website that clearly states your mission is tantamount to getting a donation or help from any business. In a world where credibility is in high demand, a website is one giant step in that direction.
2. Socialize a Bit
To the same end, get in on the social media craze that’s out there now. Social media pages make a great tool for reaching out to people that are sympathetic to your cause. First off, you can target specific groups of people or businesses and create ads for them.
You can also create a page that promotes your event, which can include all the pertinent information, like where, when, and how sponsors can sign up. It’s easy and potential sponsors will appreciate the effort you’ve put in, so they don’t have to.
3. Leave No Stone Unturned
You’ve probably got volunteers or people on the grounds that are going out to businesses on foot. In one of my most recent events, we made sure to let our volunteers and staffs know that no business is too small or too new to approach. Often times, it is these businesses that are most likely to want to sponsor because of marketing or PR needs to help their business grow.
4. Everyone Loves a Tax Break
Charitable donations from businesses give businesses a nice little tax exemption that will probably help them lean in your direction.
5. Stay Connected
Once a business gives funds or supports your cause, don’t think you can just stop communicating with them. Communication is the key to any successful long-term campaign, so utilizing newsletters or thank-you cards can be a great way to let your sponsors know that you haven’t forgotten about them. This is also a great way to remind them later on to donate a little more for your next event.
6. Know People
We’ve all got that celebrity friend, right? Ok, well maybe not, but if you do, you should reach out to them, especially if they are sympathetic to your cause. This is helpful not only on the sponsor front, but it also lets other businesses know that you’ve big names on your side, which helps bring in other big names. It could be a local celebrity or a Hollywood red carpeter, but either way, they hold clout and your event will thank them for it.
Having a big name can also help because they may be able to give away tickets that can be used as prizes, raffles, targeted marketing, etc. People with connections are called that for a reason – they have connections and they can help, if they are willing to, in many, many ways. But, first you have to ask.
7. Get the Media Involved
We all know that print media is dying. Everything is moving digital, but that doesn’t mean that print media is obsolete. It can still help you reach your goals by promoting your event. And with print media trying to keep up with its internet counterparts, you can bet they’ll be more likely to do a story on your organization and event. All you need to do is reach out to them.
The same is true for radio and television stations. They may not be hurting for stories the way the print media is, but just by reaching out you could have your event publicized over the airwaves. Not only will this help reach other potential sponsors, but the radio, television station or newspaper may even want to get in on the action and sponsor, as well.
8. Offer Exclusivity
What does this mean? You could set up a sponsor program where certain dollar amounts or products get the sponsor a specific section of the event to themselves. Many businesses will find a section of your event called “The ___ Zone” very appealing, as it helps their marketing and branding, as well.
9. Find the Right People
Sometimes when seeking out sponsors you might need to do a little research. Being proactive and seeking out sponsors that are sympathetic to your cause (i.e. Toys ‘R Us to a kids foundation) can be very beneficial. These are the types of people and companies that you might also want to reach out to for donations that aren’t monetary. These types of sponsors may just want to donate goods or services that help your event.
10. Ask Them to Host the Event
There are plenty of organizations out there that may not want to donate any money, but they will donate their space to you and help you run the show. This could be helpful if you are running a smaller event or happen to be targeting a very specific group to attend the event.
Lance Trebesch is the CEO of TicketPrinting.com & Ticket River which offers a variety of event products and ticketing services. After nineteen years of Silicon Valley experience, Lance found the key to happiness is helping customers worldwide beautify and monetize their events with brilliant print products and event services. Listening to his customers and learning about how they plan their events – ranging from concerts to fundraisers has helped him gain insight and expertise on how to host a successful event that he is always eager to share.